Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to outline a case where people's intuitions regarding the ethical status of an action performed in a massively multiplayer online role‐playing game are divided, and provide an argument to resolve this division. Design/methodology/approach – This paper takes a philosophical approach, from the analytical tradition. It details the main arguments for each side and provides counter‐arguments in order to indicate the salient points. Findings – The paper argues that, of the three arguments for the morality of particular virtual action outlined in this paper, none are satisfactory. An argument for the immorality of the action in questions based upon the fairness/sportsmanship distinction is offered. Originality/value – The development of case‐based ethical studies, which draw upon current and controversial events within popular virtual environments, are useful in the construction of a deeper understanding of moral action within such spaces.
Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 30, 2009
Keywords: Ethics; Role play; Video games
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